Cryptobauhaus is bringing the Bauhaus art and design aesthetic to NFTs
Cryptoartist. ArtBlocks artist. Lover of beauty.
In early 2021 a generative artist appeared on my radar. His collections looked new, but his aesthetic felt familiar. Almost like a Bauhaus aesthetic. According to Wikipedia, “The Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known as the Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts.” In fact, I would now like to introduce the artist known as Cryptobauhaus. This individual bridges the classic artistic vision and strives to combine Bauhaus aesthetics with web3 and NFTs.
Who were you before Cryptobauhaus?
I’m still this person, but a bit about me personally; I have 2 teenage children, a wife and 2 dogs. I am a professional UX designer and in general love making things. I have a master degree in Communication Design from the Institute of Design. This school evolved from the original Bauhaus School from Germany. Though my education was focused more on user-centered design principles, the Bauhaus art and design aesthetic was certainly deeply instilled into my thinking. I’ve always been interested in art and technology from my earliest age.
Do you remember who the first artist or work of art was that really resonated with you?
I don’t remember a single artist. However, I’ve always been inspired by creators, famous or not. In high school I was more into sports, but always admired the “art” kids. Later in my life the mid-century aesthetic resonated with me. From Ray and Charles Eames to Paul Rand. And of course, all the Bauhaus artists and designers had a significant influence on my art.
I’m so curious, do you remember when and how your obsession with bauhaus style came about?
Really the Bauhaus style was instilled in my education. I also always liked simplicity, order and intentionality. So the Bauhaus style resonates with me. I remember early on in my life liking well designed objects. I didn’t really learn about the Bauhaus movement until college, but looking back I’m not surprised that this has become my biggest influence.
How do you find inspiration?
I love the concept of the “muse.” An unconscious flow of creativity and ideas. Thinking deeply about where creativity comes from is fascinating. There are days where my creativity is flat and I think I’ll never come up with another idea in my life. There are other days where something is happening where ideas are coming out of me with ease. During these times, I find inspiration everywhere. Nature, books, magazines, Pinterest. I think when the muse hits, inspiration comes from everywhere. The key is being ready for those moments.
It’s been a long time coming, you recently released your genesis Art Blocks collection entitled Exhibition: 3291.
What is the backstory and how did you know the code was ready for a public release?
The backstory of the project is that it is based on a 1923 Bauhaus poster. Using that poster as a starting template, the code creates variations from that template. There are just a few visual elements on the 1923 poster so I had to add a few other variations to make the possible variations a bit more dynamic. That was really the biggest challenge. I had to balance staying true to the simplicity of the poster while at the same time creating enough possible variations to make each mint interesting with some unique characteristics.
Did you ever plan on using another idea for your first Art Blocks release?
I had several ideas for my first project. I knew it had to be connected to the Bauhaus movement in some way though. I had about 3 different ideas and landed on Exhibition: 3291. It just felt right as my first ArtBlocks project. It’s pretty cool knowing that my ode to this movement will forever be out in the world on the blockchain.
I also noticed that 25% of proceeds will be given to local Chicagoland charitable organizations. I think that is so awesome. Why did you decide to do such a nice gesture? Which Chicagoland charitable organizations do you have in mind and why?
The charitable contribution is actually something ArtBlocks requires for every project. My wife and I were involved in a local charity that helps refugees get settled into their new homes. The charity we are involved in helps Afghanistan refugees find apartments and get settled into American society.
When releasing a new project, I wonder if you set expectations for yourself or ever succumb to feeling like you have to sell out a collection?
Yes! This actually is a big problem for me. I got into this with very little expectations. I’m eternally grateful for all the success I’ve seen, but there’s also a side of success that is difficult for me. If my next project isn’t as successful or more successful than my previous, part of me feels like it was a failure. I know that’s not a reasonable way to look at things and in most cases I can modulate these feelings. However, some part of me always feels disappointed if projects don’t sell out, or if a project doesn’t hit the level of success I was hoping for.
On my best days, I try to focus on the art and do my best to bring beauty and joy into the world and not worry so much about sales or popularity. But it’s a hard thing to manage for sure!
Given the nature of NFTs and how fast everything moves in this space, have you ever been burned out from creating? (If so, can you talk about what that was like and how you got through it.)
Yes, for sure. That’s why I think it’s important to step away from time to time. Usually after a big project I’ll take a few weeks off. I usually have some idea I’m working on, but I’ll pull back somewhat. But then that hunger to create, comes back. But I see this as a marathon, not a sprint. So I try to model my life around that and hope to be in this for the long run.
If you weren’t making art, what would you be doing?
For those of us who have been following your work for a while now, one awesome utility that you offer to collectors is shipping a physical print of our NFT to display. It’s even become your unofficial motto on your Opensea page, “Buy a NFT, Get a Print”. Personally, this is a great marketing technique - how did you come up with the idea?
Actually, the idea of offering prints was something I did from the very beginning. When I discovered NFTs I though it would be cool to have an accompanying NFT I was going to purchase. So, I bought a nice printer and put out a few NFT thinking it was a little differentiator for me.
Adding on to that, what are your thoughts on the relationship between physical art and NFTs?
I love the digital world, but I also like having beautiful things in my life. I love the saying, “we are made of atoms not bits.” As humans, I believe we will always crave tangible things in our lives. I also love playing with the connection between the physical and digital worlds. That’s why I include a QR code on the prints. I hope if collectors display their prints and friends and family ask about the art, they can use the QR code to show how the art also lives in the digital world and spur a conversation about the NFT art world.
You’ve created some incredible NFT collections, so far! Emergent Towers, BlocksOnBlocks, Modernist Prill, and so many more. They’re all very fun to collect and fun to admire. Not to mention they look nice, placed throughout the house.
Which collection is most special to you and why?
Thanks for those kind words! Of course each project has its own special place. However, I think the one that was most memorable is the UFA collection. That project started from an idea of an information visualization 1 pager of a person’s wallet address hash value. I shared the idea with some people and Twitter and eventually that idea became UFA, which is totally different then the original idea. The basic shape of UFA came from a single visualization in the original idea, but that’s really the only element. That project was memorable because it really felt like my collectors helped shape that project.
I have to be greedy and pump my bags, how did you create the piece, Birds of Paradise?
That project came about on a vacation to San Diego. The Birds of Paradise plants out there at the time were just so stunning to me! We had a little place near the beach and I was inspired by the beauty of that plant and created that piece! I was so happy you got that piece!
I’m truly thankful that I was “early” in that regard, and that you were so kind as soon as we connected! It has a special place in my heart, as I’m a passionate plant dad to many types including a beautiful Birds of Paradise.
Moving on, What has changed for you creatively (if anything) from last year, to right now?
You know many of the things are the same, but also nothing is the same. I still find inspiration all around me. I still love the craft of NFT and generative art. I love the thrill of watching my code come to life and observing all the variations it creates. I also love printing things out and seeing how pieces look on paper. I guess what’s changing is continually thinking about what my next project is and trying not to be too concerned about selling out, or the love of the art get overtaken by success. If I had to be honest, that’s the biggest obstacle to my creativity. I’m doing way more deliberation in my head if my ideas are marketable and/or desirable, rather than just making what’s in my head.
Are there any styles you would like to try or are currently experimenting with?
I’m interested in doing some more simple animations. Recently I sold a simple animated piece that combines generative art and animation called Evening Colors Along the Ocean. I really enjoyed that.
This is so cool and would look quite tranquil, displayed in a square digital frame.
Is there anything you’d like to accomplish this year, specifically?
I’m still interested in working with ArtBlocks trying for a curated project. I also want to do more of my own smart contract stuff. But really my high level goal remains the same. I want to continue to create art that people enjoy, find beautiful.
I hear you and know you’ve got a growing community of admirers and collectors who I’m sure will continue to support you through your journey through art and NFTs!